This California Pizza Kitchen Butter Cake or CPK Butter Cake is a cake loaded with rich buttery flavor with a moist, fluffy and tender crumb. This cake is easy to put together, needs a few ingredients and bakes within minutes. The cakes has a crispy light golden brown crust with golden brown and crunchy sides. Like cakes? Try my Italian Almond Cake, Victoria Sponge Cake, Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake, Peach Cobbler Pound Cake, Pecan Upside Down Cake and Southern Pecan Praline Cake.
This is my California Pizza Kitchen Butter Cake copycat recipe. If you are a frequent visitor of the restaurant, you know how good this cake is. This copycat recipe is as good as the cake they serve you in the restaurant.
Table of Contents
Why This Recipe Works?
- This is a super easy cake to bake.
- This is a perfect copy cat recipe of the famous California Pizza Kitchen restaurant.
- The buttery flavor of this cake is super rich.
- The cake has a tender, moist and fluffy crumb.
Origin of the Butter Cake
It is believed the cake was created by a German American baker in St. Louis city in Missouri in the 1930’s. The baker was trying to make regular cake batter but changed the proportion of butter and flour by mistake. And it resulted in the ooey gooey butter cake. Over the years it became popular throughout the United States and the credit goes to Paula Deen, and that’s why it is often referred to as Paula Deen's Gooey Butter Cake.
Difference Between Butter Cake and Pound Cake
The main difference between the two cakes is that the Butter Cake has a lighter texture and will rise more than the pound cake. Whereas the Pound Cake which traditionally has a ratio of 1:1:1:1 of sugar, butter, eggs and flour, will have a denser crumb.
Pro Tip # 1 - Room Temperature Ingredients
Always use room temperature ingredients (unless otherwise specified) for baking. Ingredients such as butter, eggs and other dairy ingredients like milk, sour cream, yogurt form an emulsion by trapping air inside the batter. The trapped air expands in the oven resulting in perfect baked treats.
Unsalted Butter: use high-quality butter for this cake.
Granulated Sugar: adds sweetness to the cake.
All-Purpose Flour: provides structure to the cake.
Baking Powder: leavening agent in this recipe.
Eggs: adds to the structure and texture, color and aroma of this cake.
Vanilla Extract: adds flavor.
Almond Extract: adds flavor.
Buttermilk: helps with fat content that gives moist light crumb.
Pro Tip # 2 - Digital Scale
Use a digital scale to measure all-purpose flour and other dry ingredients. To measure with cup, fluff up the all-purpose flour container using a spoon, then scoop out the flour with spoon into the measuring cup. Never scoop out of the container. It may result in more flour than required resulting in dense bakes.
These are basic process shots for this recipe. For detailed instructions refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
1. Sift and whisk flour and baking powder. Set aside.
2. Take a large bowl and beat butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy.
3. Add the flour to the butter and beat until just combined well.
4. Add eggs one by one and continue beating. Add vanilla and among extract and mix.
5. In the end add buttermilk to the batter and mix until combined.
6. Pour the batter to the greased pan. Place the cake pan in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 40 – 50 minutes until the cake is golden brown in color.
- 9'' round cake pan.
- Electric mixer.
- Rubber spatula.
- Mixing bowls.
- Measuring cups and spoons.
- Vanilla Ice-Cream: Serve this cake with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream to further enhance the fudgy chocolatey cake flavor. Yummy!
- Chocolate Ganache: Pour over chocolate ganache on the cake to add to the buttery flavor of the cake.
- Berries: You may add berries of your choice to the cake batter such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries.
- Frosting: Garnish the cake with whipped cream.
- Butter: Make sure to use butter of good quality to get the best results for this cake.
- Room Temperature: Use ingredients at room temperature so that the ingredients infuse well with each other, resulting in a good bake.
- Buttermilk: Use buttermilk at room temperature for this recipe and do not omit or replace buttermilk in this recipe. The buttermilk generates an acidic reaction with baking powder that helps with the rise of the cake. It creates moist and fluffy crumb. The buttermilk also helps to counter the gluten in the flour in the batter.
Frequently Asked Questions
The oven temperature might be too high as every oven is different. Place foil over the pan halfway to avoid it getting too brown. Please remember to not add the foil while placing the cake in the oven or it will not rise properly.
I wouldn’t suggest replacing buttermilk as the recipe gets the moist crumb because of the buttermilk. The buttermilk helps generating an acidic reaction with baking powder helping with the rise of the cake and creating the moist, fluffy crumb. The buttermilk also helps to counter the gluten in the flour in the batter.
How to Store
- The cake will keep fresh for up to 2 days in an air-tight container on the counter.
- The cake will stay fresh for up to a week in the fridge.
- First freeze the whole cake tray and then remove the pieces and wrap it in plastic wraps and add a layer of foil. Now stash it in a Zip-loc bag and place in the freezer. It will stay good for up to 3 months.
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California Pizza Kitchen Butter Cake (Copycat Recipe)
- Electric Mixer
- 9'' round pan
- Digital Scale
- Rubber Spatula
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- 1 cup unsalted butter (227 g) room temperature
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour (180 g)
- 1 cup castor sugar (200 g)
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (4 g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 g)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (5 g)
- 1 cup buttermilk (225 g) room temperature
- Preheat oven at 375F.
- Take a 9-inch baking cake pan and spray it with a baking spray or apply butter on the bottom and sides of the pan. Place the liner in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle granulated sugar on the sides and bottom of the pan.
- Sift and whisk flour and baking powder. Set aside.
- Take a large bowl and beat butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy.
- Add the flour to the butter and beat until just combined well.
- Add eggs one by one and continue beating. Add vanilla, among extract and buttermilk to the cake batter and mix until the batter is light in color.
- Pour the batter to the greased pan.
- Place the cake pan in the middle-rack of the oven and bake for 40 – 50 minutes until the cake is golden brown in color. Insert a toothpick in the center to check if the cake is done. If the toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs, the cake is ready.
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